The British Poultry Council welcomes Defra Secretary of State George Eustice’s assurances to maintain high British standards in trade deals.

While answering questions at the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice MP, said: “We will protect food standards in all our trade negotiations, certain practices such as chlorine washes on chicken or hormones in beef are subject to a prohibition on sale in UK and that law remains in place.”

BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths welcomed George Eustice’s remarks and said:
“We welcome the remarks made by the Defra Secretary of State in recognition of our world-class animal welfare and production standards. Maintaining British food production standards and protecting them from dilution in trade deals will play a crucial role in ensuring nation’s access to affordable British food grown to high standards from farm to fork.

If food produced to lower standards is allowed to enter the British market, it will create a two-tier food system, in which only the affluent can afford to eat British food grown to British standards. This is unacceptable. Maintaining high British standards and continuing a healthy trading relationship with the EU is vital to UK food security. Government must not negotiate trade agreements that compromise Britain’s competitiveness and risk the nation’s access to a secure supply of safe, nutritious and affordable British food.”

Poultry is half the meat the country eats. UK is the fourth-largest producer of poultry meat in the EU and is about 60% self-sufficient. Britons prefer chicken breast meat to dark cuts like wings, legs and thighs. The sustainability of the British poultry meat production is incredibly dependent upon finding a market for 75% of the bird that is left over after removing the breasts. Currently three quarters of Britain’s dark meat exports and breast meat imports are with the EU. Absence of markets for these products, pushes more value into UK-consumed breast meat.